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The nature and frequency of marital problems which lead to divorce in Tehran, Iran : as perceived by four professional groups : a dissertation ...

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The Problem. During the past several decades Iranian society has undergone substantial change. Industrialization, urbanization, and universal education have been dynamic forces in changing Iranian society. Such factors may have influenced the structure and function of the family in Iran. In addition, and perhaps related to these factors, other developments occurred. The bond of kinship began to weaken and the neighborhood changed due to a trend toward the nuclear family. The solidarity of tradition was loosened. This was especially true in Tehranian society. One important development from these changes was a more active role by women in the society. Women have been somewhat liberated from traditional restrictive practices through legislative and social development. Marriage and divorce are perhaps sensitive indices through which changes in family structure can be studied. In 1976, the ratio of divorce to marriage in Tehran was about one to three, which was the highest rate of divorce in the country since 1942 when record-keeping began. It was the intention of this study to ascertain the nature and frequency of marital problems which led to divorce in Tehran during the 1967-79 period as perceived by four different professional groups in Tehran. These problem areas were organized under three major aspects: (1) characteristics or behaviors of the wife, (2) characteristics or behaviors of the husband, and (3) general or miscellaneous factors. Procedures. The data for this descriptive study were collected by the questionnaire method from 120 randomly selected individuals of four different professional groups in Tehran. These four professional groups were: 30 practicing psychologists; 30 heads of notary public; 30 social workers; and 30 family court judges. All of these four professional groups were directly involved in some aspect of the divorce proceedings. Frequency and percentage distribution of responses to the questionnaire item were derived. These were accomplished for the composite of the four professional groups as well as for each professional group separately. Findings and Discussion. The findings of this study regarding sex behavior are consistent with those of other studies performed in Iran. Majority of the respondents considered having extra-marital relations to be detrimental to the marriage relationship for both husband and wife. Alcoholism and/or drug addiction and gambling were other problems which led to divorce. These problems previously were recognized as problems for the husband, but this study indicated that these problems are increasing among wives in Iran. The changing role of women and their participation in social life may have resulted in their involvement in alcoholism and gambling. Another cause of divorce was interference from in-laws. Iranian families, for the most part, live in extended family units. Several generations may live in the same city making frequent contact relatively easy. While such a relationship has some advantages, the tendency for in-laws to interfere in their offsprings lives can have a negative effect. Recommendation for Further Study. With regard to the information base obtained from these data and related research of the literature, the investigator recommends that further research be conducted in the following areas: (1) A replication of this study in other urban areas in different parts of Iran in an effort to substantiate the findings of the present study and extend the generalizations to a wider population; (2) A replication of this study in rural areas of Iran to investigate similarities and differences between urban and rural sources of marital discord.

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